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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

UW Hospital and Clinics Lab Test Directory

Test Name: EBV Qualitative by PCR, CSF

Test Code(s): CFEBV / HCCFEBV

CPT Code(s): 87798

Methodology: Real-Time PCR

Clinical Significance: Detect Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) in CSF.

Days Performed: Mon-Fri.

Turnaround Time: Stat: Not available stat.
Routine: 2 - 3 days.

Specimen Requirements

Specimen: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)

Collection Container: Preferred: Sterile screw cap container

Collection Volume: Preferred: 2 mL
Pediatrics: 2 mL

Sample Analyzed: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) aliquot

Volume Required: Preferred: 2 mL
Pediatrics: 1.2 mL

Specimen Processing: No processing required.

Specimen Transport: Transport specimen to UWHC Core Laboratory (B4/220) immediately. Transport on coolant pack or if frozen on dry ice.

Unacceptable Criteria: LIMIT: One specimen every 48 hours.

Stability: Ambient: 3 days
Refrigerated: 3 days
Frozen: Indefinitely at -70 C.


Expected Results:

Not detected


Detection of low levels of EBV in specimens containing leukocytes is not unexpected, due to the ubiquitous nature of EBV infection in the population.

Additional Information:

False negative results may be due to the suppression of viral replication to levels below the detection threshold, insufficient specimen collection volumes, or to inhibitory substances that may be present in the specimen. Note that low specimen collection volumes will affect the sensitivity of the lower limit of viral detection by this assay. Inadequate specimen collection, processing and storage may invalidate test results. This test should not be used as the only criterion to form a clinical conclusion, instead, results should be correlated with other test results, patient symptoms and clinical presentation. DNA sequence polymorphisms in EBV strains may result in underestimation of viral levels. The presence of variations in EBV DNA sequences are monitored in the real-time PCR assay. This assay does not genotype the virus, and consequently does not provide any information with regard to EBV drug resistance.


The performance characteristics of this test were validated by UWHC Clinical Laboratories. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved or cleared this test; however, FDA approval or clearance is currently not required for clinical use of this test. The results are not intended to be used as the sole means for clinical diagnosis or patient management decisions. The UWHC Clinical Laboratories is authorized under Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) to perform high-complexity testing.

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